Sharing her love for FOX's hit Scream Queens at LA's Paleyfest Saturday with costars Lea Michele, Emma Roberts and Niecy Nash – all of them returning for season 2 – Curtis said she knew from the premiere episode that the show would be a hit, and that she was in love with her character, Cathy Munsch, dean of murder-prone Wallace University.
"For me, out of everything I've ever done, the quality of the writing is so far superior to any of the other work I've done," the veteran actress said.
Curtis was nominated for a Golden Globe for the role, a tough, cynical woman who could be a better-credentialed cousin to coach Sue Sylvester on Glee. Her dialogue is sarcastic and smart, and a good reminder to audiences that Curtis has always been adept at comedy. During the panel she mentioned the oddball classic A Fish Called Wanda, "but that was 29 years ago."
Munsch, she admitted, is something of a "hag role," referring to a particular casting tendency for Hollywood actresses in middle age. Joan Crawford played so many of these roles it was a surprise her hairdo didn't collapse in exhaustion and frustration.
But Scream Queens is the work of American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy, whose enthusiasm for good actresses (and camp) has led to wonderful (if crazy) roles for Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates.
Scream Queens even let Curtis kick ass in a variation on the classic shower scene her mother, Janet Leigh, played in Psycho. (Munsch tells the killer, "I saw that movie fifty times!") Curtis enjoyed that, too, as a loving homage.
"I've been an actress a long time," she said. "My mom's been dead ten years and if not now, when? I mean, honestly, I'm on a show called frickin' Scream Queens.
Reporting by CHRISTINA DUGAN